John James Murphy
(Anastasia Joyce collection)
James [formerly John]
(1822-1909), landowner and sheep-farmer, was born at Haysland,
in the Kilrane parish of Co. Wexford, the eldest son of Nicholas
Murphy and Katherine Sinnott (1792-1861).
Murphy emigrated to Argentina in 1844, sailing in the
barke William Peile with other emigrants from
Wexford. He first worked as a ditch
digger and shepherd in Chascomús.
In 1855, he established in Salto, Buenos Aires. In
years, John Murphy owned two estancias, La Flor del Uncalito in Salto and La Caldera
in Rojas. He was the first landowner in Northern Buenos
Aires to fence his holding. In 1867 John Murphy married
Ellen (1846-1921), the daughter of Patrick Roche
(1807-1881) and Margaret Reville (d.1866). He adopted the
middle name James for his brother-in-law James Furlong.
John J. Murphy and Margaret Reville had five daughters and
John Murphy returned to Ireland with
his family and rented his lands in Argentina.
Two of his children died in Ireland, and the family went
back to Argentina
on January 1882. Under the favourable conditions created
after the war against the Indians, on 15 March 1883 Murphy
purchased from Eduardo Casey eight leagues (18,600 hectares)
in the south of Santa Fe province, one of the best regions of the pampas.
directly of through others, John J. Murphy was responsible
for a significant share of the emigration to Argentina
from the Kilrane parish. Typically, prospect emigrants
were selected by his younger brother Martin Murphy
(1829-1899), who remained at home, or his wife's uncle Fr.
Clement Reville O.F.M. (1804-1877) of Wexford Town.
Emigrants were advanced the passage ticket and travel
expenses and they had to work a year in the Murphy's
estancias in Salto and Rojas to pay for their journey. Men
were hired as ranch hands and the women as cooks and
domestic service. After a try period Murphy would offer
the best men to mind one of his flocks of sheep on halves.
Several young people from Wexford emigrated in this way to
Argentina, and some of them settled in the country, among
them John Murphy's brothers William Murphy (1827-1890) and
Patrick Murphy (1832-1881).
John J. Murphy died on 13 July 1909
at his house of 4191 Rivadavia, Almagro, and was buried in
Recoleta cemetery. Most
of the land in Santa Fe was sold out to tenants,
and a railway station was named after him.
From Kilrane to the Irish Pampas: The Thriving
Story of John James Murphy, in "Irish Migration
Studies in Latin America" (www.irlandeses.org/settle/murphy)
accessed 14 May 2003.
- Coghlan, Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y Descendencia
(Buenos Aires, 1987), p.
Raúl, Murphy, en Tierras Benditas (Venado Tuerto,
- Anastasia Joyce Collection, letters of the Murphy